According to a study by the TUC of investment spending in the public and private sectors, the United Kingdom perform amongst the worst in the developed world when it comes to spending money on new technology, including industrial machinery and transport equipment.
Out of the 34 members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD), this study showed the UK to come last when it came to spending on transport equipment. It also showed that Britain was 23rd out of the 27 countries when it come to investment in various types of machinery, and 20th out of 21 countries in spending on IT systems.
These results come ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement, in which Chancellor Philip Hammond is likely to feel the pressure when it comes to declaring such proposed spending across the public and private sectors. He is encouraged to boost spending, as this TUC report highlights the reason as to perhaps why the UK’s productivity rate has never really recovered after the crash that was 2008.
In addition to this bleak news is the fact that Brexit still looms and no one knows exactly what the future holds for UK industry. Frances O’Grady, The TUC General Secretary, is reported to have said –
“We can’t just waltz into Brexit with our fingers crossed. If the government doesn’t invest in Britain, it could go very badly wrong. And working people will pay the price with fewer jobs, lower wages and higher prices.”
She went onto say – “But if the government invests in Britain, we can build an economy strong enough to thrive. We need investment in rail and roads. We need investment in new homes and clean energy. And we need investment in skills, education and fair pay for a world-class workforce .It’s the right thing to do for better jobs and higher wages. And it’s the best way to build an economy strong enough to compete in the global marketplace.”
It is likely that Philip Hammond will reiterate the uncertainty of Brexit, as well as mention the consistently low productivity of the UK, which many experts have said it due to lack of investment. He was reported as saying just last month – “Now is a good time to invest in genuinely productivity-enhancing infrastructure, and to take advantage of low borrowing costs and our ability to borrow. But this is not about a fiscal splurge. It is about supporting the economy in a measured and balanced way.”
The UK government has been encouraged to up their spending on these type of investments by the OECD and IMF, in anticipation of a great increase in digital infrastructure as well as the training required to accompany it.
The majority of the British public will be shocked to read about just how poorly the UK performed against their counterparts, and be expecting to see Hammond greatly boost the spending on the said investments in the coming period.